Dressing EL Dorado County children in need (K-8)

Children Shop for
New Clothing

Our many volunteers and sponsor retailers help make Operation School Bell® shopping experience easy and fun for the children.
Together with their parent or guardians, children receive spending vouchers to shop at the participating stores. K-5 Children receive a $70 voucher; grades 6-8 receive $100. Children are able to select from a variety of school related clothing and always eager to get their first new coat or pair of shoes.
  • pant(s)
  • jacket
  • sweater(s)
  • shirt(s) or blouses(s)
  • dresses
  • underwear
  • socks
  • belt
  • a book of their choice

1,089 Students Dressed
in 2020

Children who go to school without adequate clothing often suffer low self-esteem.  Students (K-8th grade) are identified by El Dorado County public school personnel and brought by their parents/guardians to Operation School Bell events at local retail sponsored outlets to shop for brand NEW clothing; many are outfitted from head to toe with the assistance of one of our caring member volunteers.

El Dorado County Office of Education and our local retailers are the BEST!

Our impact grows yearly

Since the program formation in 2008, Operation School Bell has grown from 79 students clothed in 2008 to 1,089 students in 2019-20. The K-8 children who visit the shopping event all leave with a huge bag of new clothes, wide grins and a renewed sense of confidence.
Working in partnership with the El Dorado County Office of Education and local Target, Kmart and Walmart stores, we were able to expand our reach to 45 schools and conducted 7 shopping events from September – November. Our partnership also includes First Book to provide each child with a new book appropriate for their age.
This year Operation School Bell met the needs of 18% of the disadvantaged and homeless children in our county with the help of our community, sponsors and grantors.   We strive to do more in the coming year.


I am an 8th grader at South Lake Tahoe Middle School.  I am currently in a group home in Tahoe and was able to participate in the Operation School Bell Program.  I sincerely appreciate the opportunity that your organization gave me to find some new clothing.  I do not receive a clothing allowance, and though I have gotten a few new clothes from the group home, the money I received today really, really helped.  Especially with fall around the corner!  ~ Name withheld


In today’s economy, there is such a great need for programs like this.  One student thanked me profusely for the new clothes she had gotten.  She shared that her mother had not been able to buy her anything new for school this year and that she was wearing used clothing that someone had given her.   ~ JoAnn Hernandez, Counselor South Lake Tahoe Middle School

When asked why he had two pairs of shoes in his shopping cart, the middle school boy said he had been wearing his Aunt’s shoes for the last two years.  His feet were sticking over the backs of the shoes.

I am sending a big thank you on behalf of my nephew, from Pleasant Grove Middle School.  He participated in Operation School Bell shopping at Target and was beyond happy.  He picked out a lot of nice clothes and then was so surprised with the haircut certificate and book at the end.  It made him feel very, very special.  He lost his Mom to cancer 2.5 years ago, so every act of kindness is a real blessing to him.  Thank You again!     ~ Name withheld

Dick Williams, Superintendent and Principal of Mountain Creek Middle School shared comments from his students:  “This was so cool.  I really needed a new jacket and didn’t have one before”. “I got new shoes, this shirt, these cool pants and a sweater!  My old shoes had holes in the bottom so now I won’t have shoes that leak when it rains!”. “I have never had a flannel shirt before, now I have two!”.  You can see this was a very meaningful event for kids in real need.  They were so happy to get things that most others simply take for granted.

Debbie McClenahan, Operation School Bell Chairman

Every $100 will help clothe a child with a new jacket, a pair of shoes, pants, tee shirt and underwear.